European SMEs account for 28% of exports from the EU to the USA. Although these SMEs are highly active in this respect, they must nevertheless overcome certain obstacles. Here is a list of the main existing barriers according to a report conducted by the European Commission.
The top 5 European exporting countries. The European Commission’s survey, entitled Small and Medium Sized Enterprises and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, underlines the importance of exports by European SMEs to the US. These SMEs are particularly active in the agri-food industry. US imports of drinks from the EU now represent one quarter of all US imports in this sector. The European countries with the most SMEs that export to the US are as follows, all sectors included:
- United Kingdom
4 obstacles to exports. To establish this report, the European Commission polled 869 enterprises from the Enterprise Europe Network. Four main obstacles are cited as a source of blockage for exports to the US:
- Restrictive regulations. In the agri-food sector, the process for validating products by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is extremely drawn out. Sanitary technical regulations concerning quality and security represent a major braking factor in relation to exports. The same goes for the certification of medications in the pharmaceuticals sector. In the field of textiles, a British company told of how it had to re-test its products’ fire-proof properties, whereas this had already been done in Europe.
- High taxes and customs duties. Taxes and customs duties can have a considerable impact on expenses to be paid by European SMEs. Added to these are the cost of insurance and the distribution process.
- Intellectual property. The USA does not recognise all food products that carry a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO). An Italian manufacturer of Gorgonzola cheese pointed out that lots of blue cheeses produced in Wisconsin are actually called Gorgonzola. Patented electronic, optical or IT products also have little protection in the US.
- Restrictions on hiring foreign personnel. The last major obstacle referred to by European SMEs concerns the difficulties faced by foreign personnel for obtaining work permits. To overcome these obstacles, it might be a good idea to find an American partner by registering with Europages. Register now!